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This lecture is sponsored in honor of David Rottenstreich. Rabbi Tzvi Sobolofsky The Thursday before Pesach this year I heard the opportunity to hear a special shiur on the Halachos concerning Chol Hamoed. Unknown to anyone, this was the last shiur David attended this year. Over the weekend David was hospitalized and then we attended his levayah. Last divrei Torah of David in Olam Hazeh. We had spoken about some of the halachos concerning Chol Hamoed- there are some limitations of some types of work regarding what is permitted to perform and what we cannot perform. Davar Ha’Aved (something which is lost) where a person will experience a financial lost- under certain circumstances you can work to prevent such a loss- Midas HaRevach. Generally speaking the Midas HaRevach does not fall under the categories of Davar Ha’Aved. I want to borrow this halakhic distinction just for a moment and show how these two distinct approaches encapsulate a very unique aspect of David’s life. Gemara tells us that before a person is born they are studying with the angel in heaven and study allt he Torah. They come to this world and forget the Torah and have to go back to retrieve that which belonged to them. Very often when you see someone who is learning you can tell whether or not they are practicing this message or not. Sometimes someone is learning and it’s nice, it’s enjoyable- and sometimes you can see that someone is looking for something which is theirs, something which they are retrieving, something which was lost, which one time they had. Anyone who knew David whether before shiur or after shiur or discussing the shiur, David would come over to me countless number of times (I had the privilege to be his Rebbe) and you can see the fire in his eyes and he approached the learning of Torah- the Torah was not a Midas HaRevach; it was literally a Davar Ha’Aved. It was something he felt he had lost and needed to retrieve. No doubt although we no longer have the privilege of having David study with us in our Beit Midrash in our room, he is still continuing his Torah with the Malachim by the Kisei HaKavod. Hopefully this day of learning will continue to be l’ilui nishmaso and his short span in this world should serve as an inspiration for everyone. Azkara for David at 5:00 PM at Lamport/ Zysman Hall. Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter EXILE AND REDEMPTION IN THE STATE OF ISRAEL: REISHIT ZEMIHAT GEULATENU?
2 Good morning everybody and welcome. Stu thanked so many other people who were responsible for the success of today’s program and I think it is most appro[priate for me to express our collective Hakaras HaTov to Stu for all the work you have done. I want to thank my student Simcha Gross for being the one who first invited me to participate today. I want to welcome so many of you who are here- many of you are here in person and I understand there is also web-video-conferences showing in different parts of the country so hello everybody and welcome to this program this morning. And in particular achrona, achrona chaviva- I want to welcome my mother who is here and honors us with her presence. I want to speak about the relationship between exile and redemption regarding the State of Israel. But because I am the first person opening the conference I figured I would talk about the conference theme. We all normally understand exile as being opposite redemption. Stu used a phrase “the fluctuation between two poles.” We have two poles, two realities, and we fluctuate between the two of them, the impression being that they do not coexist simultaneously. It’s either exile or redemption. We understand our lives as being on a continuum. Right now it’s Galus for the past 1900+ years we are in Galus and we move inexorably we move to the Geulah. Instead of the Churban Beis Hamikdash, the Binyan Beis Hamikdash. A lot of the presentations today will focus on exile and redemption and the continuum between them. There is also another dualism; it is more subtle and more intense- it is about exile and domicile. Exile and domicile means that on the one hand we feel like we are in exile and on the other hand we feel like we are very much at home. In case of the dualism there, unlike that of exile and redemption, here they take place simultaneously. Theoretically we understand that we are in Galus but l’maaseh we feel as though we were at home. Dozens of examples throughout Jewish history of that- one of the examples – how chashuv and special that center was the great Rabbeinu Tam writes something about them which is actually remarkable and maybe even a little audacious. The two cities in which Torah was centered were Bari and Otronto. You’ll find that in the map of Italy- says Rabbeinu Tam in the 12th century that “Ki MiBari Tetzei Torah U’ Davar Hashem Mi’Otranto.” How much more significant can you get to use Bari and Otranto in a pasuk as opposed to Tzion and Yerushalayim? We are actually prepared to appropriate a phrase used in that context and apply it to communities somewhere in the boot of Italy. What I want to show this morning- I’ve been asked to stop between 10:20 and 10:25- and I fully expect to stick to my assignment. What I would like to do in the time I have is to make the case that not only is exile and domicile simultanoues, but in the case of the current state of Israel exile and redemption is also simultaneous. We should not necessarily think it is a fluctuation between two poles as it is and has been throughout Jewish history, but the State of Israsel today poses for us a theological problem precisely because it is on the intersection of both exile and redemption and it is on that intersection simultaneously. If I have to summarize what I want to say about the State of Israel or I
3 want to give a title [microphone problems] – it would be “Israel, the Unexpected State.” What I mean is that Israel, the State of Israel, was not really supposed to happen. By that I mean the following: We understand in Jewish history there has always been a trajectory, a movement. Jews were in Egypt, came out of Egypt, went to Israel and after a while there was a first Beis Hamikdash and that was destroyed and so exile brought about the end of the redemption of the first Beis Hamikdash. That exile was ended by the building of the second Beis Hamikdash. Exile ends – the theoretical concept of exile ends- and we understand the problems of the second Beis Hamikdash and that it is not perfectly what we had wanted but essentially exile ends with Binyan Bayis Sheini. And then we have Binyan Bayis Sheini and exile- so that is a huge exile and we still find ourselves. It is a long exile. The plan and expectation always was that our exile will end the same way the last one ended, namely with a Binyan Beis Hamikdash. The first Galus after Churban Bayis Rishon ended with Binyan Baysi Sheini so the Galus after Bayis Sheni would end with Bayis Shlishi. When our Bubbes and Zeides davened for Yerushalayim in our days what they had in mind was a reconstituted Beis Hamikdash. The image of Jewish astrotology as it is presented at top of first page of the Xerox sheet- where Rambam describes what the end of days will look like- we have a certain vision of what is supposed to happen. And what is supposed to happen is that exile ends with Binyan Bayis Shlishi, end of days as we know it. That is what we have in mind when we talk about it. And as we have talked about it/ thought about it/ said it for hundreds of years. So the problem is that it didn’t quite happen that way. To some extent, exile ended. I would want to make the case that we cannot say that the Jewish people as a whole is in the same state of exile that it was prior to 1948. Just stop for a second and think what would have happened if 1948 had happened in 1938. It is inconceivable for me to say that everything is business as usual and the conceptual state of exile in which Bnei Yisrael had found itself prior to 1948 did not change. So the exile state is different, I think but it is manifestly obvious that redemption has not yet arrived. For a second, we should never appreciate we have come to this time- and dafka this week when we celebrate Yom Haatzmaut- but this is not the redemption for which we have paid. This is an imperfect reality- it seems like it is harder than before, worse, more complicated. The external threats to the State of Israel are real- are really real. There is no other state in the world that has as many missiles pointed at it. And within the State of Israel internally, the tensions and pressures…the point is clear. So on the one hand, the State of Israel is not really exile and on the other hand it is not really redemption. So the State of Israel is both exile and redemption. And it’s precisely for this reason that we are challenged to try to understand what is the theological standing of the State of Israel. What is this thing called- the State of Israel? I’m not talking politically, economically, but theologically. We understand there is a role of God in this world- there is a State of Israel so what is this? Is this just nothing? It has NO theological significance and nothing has changed theologically or on the other hand, something has
4 changed. So you know that there’s a broad swathe of our community that in fact argues for the first postion. On Page 2, I Xeroxed for you from the Gemara in Kesubos- This talks about the 3 oaths, the famous 3 oaths. It says one of the 3 oaths is that the Jews will not go “b’choma” and Rashi says that means “Yachad b’yad chazakah”- we cannot initiate the return to Zion. And therefore we have to wait passively till God sends us so the whole Zionist movement is wrong- Zionism is not only not positive but actually against the process God wishes. But others disagree and have seen this to be a significant theological turning point and have already seen it before Kom HaMedinah- even earlier at the end of the second half with the second movement. R’ Yehuda Alkalai addresses the challenge posed by the 3 oaths (Page 2) – he says when it says that Bnei Yisrael cannot go “b’choma”- we can’t go up as a wall. So Rashi says “yachad” – all together. Says R’ Alkalai, the Zionist movement is not “choma” but rather “l’at, l’at,” little by little. So it should not be considered a violation of the 3 oaths. R’ Meir Simcha (top of Page 3) also makes reference to the 3 oaths. He addresses the Zionist movement and also says after all it’s Rishyon HaMalachim. We are now not rebelling, going to a place where they don’t want us- we are not going to do something inappropriate but aderaba. He talks here about the San-Rimo Conference. So we know about the Balfour Declaration, etc, but how many know about the San-Rimo Conference? It’s a very significant event. So after that conference R’ Meir Simcha says we now have permission and are not trying to work against them. Same thing found at bottom of Page 3 in an essay by R’ Herzog, the late Chief Rabbi of Eretz Israel. The issue is: Is this challenge of the three oaths operative anymore? He quotes the Gemara and says the only time you are not allowed to do that is if someone else has authority and does not want you/ where you are rebelling. But if they don’t have authority- if you have authority and now with the founding of the State of Israel or even prior where we have permission- then there is certainly no problem. Even the Steipler (top of Page 4) – one of the most powerful representatives of the Charedi community, who lived in Bnei Brak and is one of the biggest Gedolim of the 20th century- he takes issue with this objection that takes place regarding the 3 oaths. The person most identified with this is the late Satmar Rebbe, an unbelievable Tzadik and Gadol, zecher tzadik l’bracha and he was very opposed to this. Says the Steipler: I don’t really understand the holy Satmar Rebbe’s objection. Maybe originally he would have had a tayna when the Zionist movement first started. But today, now in the 1970s or 80s there is no other authority so therefore we are fine. R’ Shlomo Aviner wrote an article many years ago- there are 13+ reasons that he brings to counter the shalosh Shavuot argument. He ranges wide and deep over the entire
5 literature and marshals all kinds of objections to the objection opposed by the Shalosh Shavuot. I want to spend the last 7 minutes to talk about the Religious Zionist position. I want to talk about the State of Israel- how did they understand this reality which is not exile – we have a Jewish state: we walk proud- I was born after it was founded so I don’t have a historical perspective. All I know is what the State of Israel means to me. Many of you are sitting in this audience who WERE born before the State of Israel. The State of Israel is extraordinary- it is not business as usual for the Jewish people. On the other hand, nebach, it is not what we hoped for. So what is this? So R’ Herzog, whom I referred to earlier, top right of Page 5, has a wonderful letter which refers to the upcoming state of Israel. And he wrote this just a few months before Hey Iyar Taf-Shin-Chet. Four or five months before the founding of the state. He writes and refers to the State of Israel: we’re now very close to the founding of the State of Israel, thank God that we reached this stage. How did R’ Herzog understand the state of Israel? It’s not Geulah- the end of 1947, the tiny little Eretz Israel was surrounded by thousands of times its size of people who want to destroy it. On the one hand this is not the ultimate redemption but on the other hand he frames the significance of it in the context of redemptive categories. It’s not Geulah but it is Atchalta the Geula. Or maybe it’s not even that. Maybe it is Atchalta d’atchalta d’Geula. It’s a double edge, but in the box/ paradigm of Geulah. It’s in the category of Geulah. We’re on the way. We’re beginning to roll. It’s the beginning of the beginning. Now this phrase in Aramaic finds its way in Hebrew into the Tefilah L’Shlom Ha’Medinah authored probably both by R’ Herzog and Shai Agnon. You have the material later on and can look at Shai Agnon’s handwriting; his version of the Tefilla. Lo and behold what phrase appears all the way in the beginning of this Tefilla? “Reishit Tzemichat Geulateinu”- what is it that you mean when you use this Nusach? It’s exactly the same thing- you are now affirming an ambivalence, a struggle, an attempt to come to theological terms with something that is hard to define. And the reason why it is hard to define is dafka because it is neither exile nor redemption or it is both exile and redemption. We don’t know what this is; we’re not used to this Metzius. And so we solve this theological conundrum by referring to it in redemptive language while acknowledging that redemption has not yet arrived. It’s not Geulateinu, not Reishit Geulateinu- it’s not Tzemichat Geulateinu? What are we prepared to say- it’s the Reishit of the Tzemichat- we are about as far away as we can be from ultimate redemption on the one hand and on the other hand are affirming a category of redemption. Last text on left-hand side- remarkable text and so remarkable that it is a forgery. When somebody argues that a text is a forgery, you know you’ve touched a button. Then you know you are on to something. Top left of page 5: the early months after the founding of the stae of Israel there is something called a Chazit Daatit. Today there are multiple political parties in Israel. When it was first founded, there was an actual attempt- short lived but nonetheless sheroic to try to have all the religious parties together. And signed on to this document- it’s printed by R’ Menachem Kasher who wrote a very important
6 book- and he writes: Nitzanim HaRishonim Shel Ha’Atchlata D’Geulah. Sparks! It’s not the Nitzanim of the Atchalta or of the Geulah. It’s the Nitzanim Rishonim of the Atchalta of the Geulah! What is going on? This is what is going on. How to frame areality that is exile and redemption at the same time- you do it by framing it in language of redemption but acknowledging significant reality of there not having that. And who signs this? R’ Tzvi Pesach Frank, R’ Chaskel Sarna (Chevron Rosh Yeshiva), R’ Zalman Sorotzkin (Tels Yeshiva), R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach- R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach signs his name on a document that refers to Medinat Israel as Nitzanim Rishonim of the Atchalta! That we should have the Geula b’mheira v’yameinu. LUNCH WILL BE SERVED IN FURST 3 and 5 Dr. Josh Karlip THE NETZIV’S VIEWS TOWARD THE REDEMPTIVE POTENTIAL OF THE EARLY ZIONIST MOVEMENT I’m a Professor of Modern Jewish History, particularly East European Jewish History. Today we are going to speak about the Netziv and his redemption with the Chibat Tzion movement and his view of the redemptive potential of Eretz Yisrael and also the responsibility that went along with it. I’m glad that I got to hear Rabbi Schacter’s lecture just a few minutes ago because I really think it’s a good transition into this seminar this morning. I just want to set the stage for a few minutes and then we’re going to jump right into the text and read the text together. These texts were written in the mid 1880s. 1881 has largely been seen as a major transition date in Modern Jewish History. 1888 was the year that Alexander the Second of Russia who was known as the Czar Liberator (he had liberated the serfs in 1861) and somewhat ameliorated the status of the Jews (not completely but somewhat) was assassinated by revolutionaries in March 1881. His son Alexander III is a reactionary and in the aftermath of the assassination, a rumor spreads throughout the Pale of Settelment, particularly through the Ukraine that the Czar has given a license for Russian subjects to beat and plunder the Jews. By the way, there was one Jewish woman involved in this revolutionary plot who certainly didn’t identify primarily as a Jew. Pogroms break out particularly within the Pale of Settlement by Pesach time of 1881. It’s important for us to remember that despite popular memory and despite what many American Jews think when they look back at Russia there had not really been any largescale pogroms in Russia since 1768- so for a hundred years of so. So the pogroms in that aftermath come as a huge shock. Was just as at a conference in Champagne, Illinois at UIC about Russian Jewry. Honoring John Clear who argued against the popular belief that Alexander III instigated the pogroms and that the pogroms were somehow government sponsored. That’s a belief that has made its way into all the historiography. If you would ask not only the knowledgeable layperson but historian today- truth is having looked at the archival records, there seems
7 to be no proof of this and in fact the pogroms seem to be spontaneous eruptions in different spots- but leaving that aside, this sets a shockwave and sends a shockwave through the Russian Jewish world. And one response is early Zionism. Again, not to be too revisionist about this, but some recent historians have questioned just how pivotal 1881 is and have argued that actually Russian Jewish Intelligentisia was moving towards nationalism even before this in the 1870s. But really those who formed the Early Zionist Movement in Czarist Russia come roughly from three groups. You have: 1. Alienated Russified Intellectuals: Jews who had either grown up or adopted Russian culture, were not fluent in Hebrew or perhaps even in Yiddish, who were very involved in Russian cultural life, sometimes in Russian revolutionary life before 1881, feel the sting of the pogroms and of Anti-Semitism. Even more shocking than the pogroms themselves was popular and intellectual reaction with many people across the board blaming the Jews themselves, saying this is a result of Jewish economic exploitation of the peasants, etc, and so many of these Russified Jews turned inward and there’s a return to the people. 2. Maskilim: Maskilim, despite the popular definition of the turn, does not mean a Modernized Jew, or it doesn’t mean as we often hear in our community an apikores who wanted to uproot Kol HaTorah Kula. An Apkores, I mean a Maskil (you see what it does?) has a very definite term: it means somebody who was raised in traditional Jewish society, oftentimes a male, almost by definition a male although we have a few examples of women maskilot, a male who is raised in elite Jewish society who does not get any systematic secular education but gets an outstanding traditional Torah education and then around the time that they are teenagers starts reading secular books or some other books of Hebrew medieval philosophy. In Hebrew translation! Unsystematically acquires a secular education in an auto-didactic fashion and then starts questioning certain elements of traditional Judaism, but most of the time the periphery and not the core. Sometimes it will be questioning certain aspects of Kabbalah or Folk Beliefthat’s the- many maskilim, most of them till the 1860s actually, are quite traditional observant Jews. In the 1860s there was a radicalization of Haskalah and at that point we start having the call for religious reform. Also, the religious reform that was most often called for was not along the line of Western European reform. Example: In 1868 there was a drought in Russia and there was a call to Rabbis to ease the ban on Kitniyot on Pesach. So there are many Maskilim such as Moshe Leib Liliyabloom who believe on integration into Russian society who are really disillusioned and they join Chibat Yisrael: if we can’t have a crowd life here in Russia, we will try to create that in Eretz Yisrael. Leon Pinsker who wrote Auto-Emancipation is a primary example of the first category: a russified Jew who despairs of acculturation and turns to Zionism. Moshe Leib is an example of the second category. The two of them join and officially form Chibat Tziyon. 3. Rabbis: This is what directly interests us today. The traditional rabbinate, by the 1880s we can refer to an Orthodox rabbinate- I use it in a historical sense. There
8 are no Orthodox jews before there are Heterodox Jews: Jews who openly flout the tradition out of ideological conviction rather than personal idiosyncracy. Amongst the Orthodox Rabbinate there is a real debate- should we join this group or not? On the one hand, we need to do something, situation is deteriorating, sense of crisis- in 1881, 1882, you have hundreds of thousands of Jews who are sneaking over the border into Galitzia, especially going to Brody, sleeping on street and trying to get to the West. So what can the Rabbinate seeing itself as the spirutal leadership of the people of Russia do? Two opinions: A) We cannot work with sinners! We cannot join a movement led by sinners! They see Pinsker and Liliyabloom: one is ignorant of traditional Jewish sources and Liliyabloom who IS an Apikores. He had been the Rav of his town in Lithuania and gets chased out for arguing out for religious change and reform. R’ Chaim Soloveitchik is a prime example of this. There was a group of Jewish students, university students throughout Russia who form a group in the early 1880s, called Bilu. Acronym: Beit Yaakov L’Chu V’Neilcha, taken from the verse of Isaiah. R’ Chaim was fond of saying they take the first words of this pasuk but they leave out the last wordsB’Or Hashem. We can’t work with them. The Lubavitcher Rebbe believed even more strongly. B) However, in the 1880s there were a signifanct number- we’re talking Lithuanian Yeshiva World not Chasidic World- who argued otherwise. They could work with Chibat Tzion, that as long as the rabbis had control over religious affairs, they could work with sinners for the purpose of pikuach nefesh and also the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael. We have here in this packet some very interesting letters between the Netziv, who at that time, R’ Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin who was Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin Yeshiva at the time, who lived I think 1817 and died in the 1890s soon after the closing of the Yeshiva- I believe he died in 1893- he is quite an elderly man at the time. Almost 70, which for the 1880s is elderly, and there is a fascinating exchange of letters between the Netziv and Leon Pinsker in Hebrew. It is important to say that the Netziv, while he was quite worldly and read Hebrew newspapers avidly did not know Polish and Russian: according to some sources, he regretted not knowing these languages- certainly his father-in-law regretted it. So the letters are translated from Hebrew to Russian for Leon Pinsker to read, then the replies are translated to Hebrew for the Netzvi. We get in the letters both the Netziv’s theological attitude toward the Yishuv and we also get the sense of special responsibility towards a religious leader. What this Yishuv has to look like religiously. So let’s turn to the first page, the first letter: This was written in December 1885, as you see. If I could have a volunteer: I’ll do this like I run my Revel class. Let’s make a summary of what was just said in case there are people who might not understand: (READER) Basically the Netziv is saying that we see now that there is a time where we help in the rehabilitation of Eretz Israel. (KARLIP) We see God is with the spirit of his people from all corners of the world to restore the ruins of the Holy Land and to restore their settlements of the dispersed people of Israel. God is knocking on the gates of our hearts saying open up a little room for your work for the time has come
9 where it will no longer be said “The Land of Israel will be forsaken.” Now comes the time for God to fulfill his shvuah where it says “v’haaretz eskor” – Tochacha in Vayikra. So clearly very poetic language and very redemptive language; that this is really a redemption and God is remembering the Jewish people and God is remembering the land. In the next paragraph he says it’s a mitzvah to give money; let’s collect prutos if you don’t have a lot. Continue reading third paragraph: Now let’s give a summary. (READER) He has this peirush in the Emek Davar. He says the difference between the first entry by Yehoshua where they didn’t have to do anything was when God said to Avraham just look around, so but now we actually have to reclaim it, also by Avraham. (KARLIP) So he is interpreting the verse from Genesis 13: 16 + 17. The whole land that you see I am giving it to you and your progeny forever; I will make your offspring like the dust of the land, for just as it is impossible to count the dust of the land, so shall your offspring be counted. So the Netziv comes up with a very ingenious interpretation of this; he says this verse is referring to different stages of the Jews taking possession of Eretz Yisrael. At the beginning, where it says “Ki et kol ha’aretz asher roeh,” the seeing comes with the Yerusha Rishona at the time of Yehoshua bin Nun. At that time, all they have to do is look at it; they don’t have to take productive steps to posess the land; the land is completely – in Devarim we see that you are coming into a land with cities that you didn’t build and all sorts of buildings and granaries that you didn’t build. Then comes the point – really ingenious derash- where it says “I will make your offspring of the dust of the land.” When will that be? That’s the Galus! That’s the exile. Why will you be like dust? Because everybody will trample on you and you’ll become like a clump! You’ll become compacted! Meaning that there’ll be less of you and you’ll be downtrodden. At that time, you have to do something. Then “kum hitalech b’aretz”- go walk in the land and take possession of it. There you have to go walk around and take possession of the land in some productive way. Okay. You want to finish reading this paragraph? Okay, so you want to summarize? (READER) This fits in so well with what I’ve read about in his peirushim- he talks about how Ezra brought everybody, not just the people who were zeroes, so he says just like they were successful, bracha where they will be successful and lead to a matzav where everyone will be shomrei torah u’ mitzvos. (QUESTION) Was this a letter to Pinsker? (KAPLIN) This is more of a fundraiser letter; he’s wanting people to give money. So you see he clearly approves of Chibat Tzion. Just like he makes this historical parallel to Babylonia and Ezra, amongst them were people who were mechalelei Shabbat and also shomrei Torah, and they all engage in productive work in the Land of Israel and rebuild it; we similarly have to do the same thing.
10 Netziv really envisions a redemptive potential to the Chibat Tzion movement. Jews have to do something productive and positive and active to take possession of the land. The next letter that we are going to look at is one he writes to the heads of Chibat Tzion in the city of Warsaw. He begins where he says if he would have realized that he would have been mentioned and the members of the Chibat Tzion would have been mentioned in Michtav 8 in their periodical, he would have said more. Midrash: If Reuven would have realized that the Torah would say that he heard the plan to kill Yosef and he saved him, he would have taken him back on his shoulders to his father. Two primary theological aims of Chibat Tzion. Can I have another volunteer? People are intimidated after that excellent reading. These are difficult phrases from Isaiah 14: 6- “in relentless pursuit.” (KARLIP) We see terrible years here in Russia and the Jews are relentlessly persecuted and many sinners, those who stumble amongst the Jews can no longer exist amongst the Galut. There is persecution and this is leading people astray from the Torah. What he’s leading to is that somehow this will be rectified with a return to Eretz Yisrael. In his next sentence- go ahead and read. Can you give a little summary? (READER) It’s especially good that they can go to Eretz Yisrael and rest from the persecution and also we see from God’s hashgacha to return to us so that we should – and we should rebuild the desolation of the Land. (KARLIP) We see from the events on the ground the fact that the Jews are returning to Eretz Yisrael that it is hashgacha! It is God’s plan for the Jewish people to return to Eretz Yisrael. The fact that we know it’s hashgacha is because in the times of Geirush Sfarad, that would have been an even better time and yet it didn’t happen. Does somebody else want to continue? Okay great! Can you give a summary? (READER) The Turkish ruler of Israel opened the gates in an opening manner and even though it was possible to go up, they didn’t have in mind to go to Israel! (KARLIP) This is all talking about the time in the 16th century when the Jews were expelled from Spain and did not go to Israel. At that point in time the Turks had actually wanted the Jews there. (READER) And from this we see that it wasn’t really the time that Hashem wanted to have them return to Israel. So the purpose was not so important for us, is that what it means? What can we do; we want to save the apikorsim; we have to strengthen ourselves that we see that Hashem, you know, He turns things the way he does, and we have to be wise about it. Because the land is called the land of Hashem and Hashem watches over it specifically so of course it is understood that Hashem wants us to settle the land.
(KARLIP) Then he gets into a whole Dvar Torah we probably don’t have time to go into. And then he says – we see that God’s providence has brought us to this; it’s upon us to pursue it and make our/ to attempt to do our Hishtadlus as all possible, to buy up and to plant as God said to Isaac to dwell in this land (not to go to Egypt in time of famine.) So it is darshaned in Breishit Rabbah to make a dwelling in the land, plant and sow and – how much could Yitzchak have done to take control of the land? It was under the rule of the Philistines and Canaanites- comparison to rule of Turks. However, it was dear in Hashem’s eyes, that which Yitzchak restored; it is precious in God’s eyes, that which we restored with our own hands, even under the rule of the Turks. Then he goes on to say- we’ll read this paragraph quickly- we shouldn’t ask why wasn’t that/ why did Hashem make it that now the conditions are such that Jews are returning to Eretz Israel? According to our conception, it should have been after the time of Spanish Expulsion. But the nistarot are for God and what is revealed is for us. Just like we can’t ask why it was under the watch of Hoshea ben Eila when the 10 tribes were expelled when Achav was a much bigger Rasha- why did the Galut Yehuda exile Judea at the time of Tzidkiyahu and not during Menashe, who was a worse Rasha- the nistarot are for Hashem. We can’t make chachmot and try to figure out why it is happening now. So this is very nice; what he says is theologically significant. How do we know that this is indeed God’s plan? Because the idea has taken off amongst Jews throughout the world, from one side of the world to the other! (QUESTIONER) It seems a little convenient- he is just presenting historical context. Now we know it is true because now it’s working out. (KARLIP) Well, but at his time it’s not working out so well…it’s starting to take off in his time but how many settlers are there? Maybe a couple thousand at most; compare that to hundreds of thousands lining up to go to America. (QUESTIONER) It’s just convenient that it happened to work out. (KARLIP) What do you mean- conveinet for us in retrospect? (QUESTIONER) No, convenient for the Netziv in terms of his worldview on the Geula. (DIFF QUESTIONER) I think that’s his point, though, that the fact that the connections had begun worldwide has shown us it is the right time. No, wait – 1885 the Yeshiva is still thriving; the Yeshiva closes in 1892. And in fact even in Volozhin there are some very active Chibat Tzion cells. His attitude is mixed regarding that. On the one hand, he officially forbids Zionist cells in his Yeshiva but unofficially he doesn’t care. But that doesn’t mean he’s anti Chibat Tzion- he is very pro that. It means that when his students are in Yeshiva he wants them learning and doesn’t want anything
12 to take away from their Torah, even social action, even if he thinks that it is very good social action. (FIRST READER) The Netziv has a shita in general that historical situation means it’s so. So the fact that it is convenient has nothing to do with it- it means that because it is happening historically, then that means it’s true! (KARLIP) When I say he is not concerned with it- I mean he doesn’t see the settlement of Eretz Yisrael as a violation of the Shalosh Shvuot. I see we have five minutes left so we won’t get through all the sources. But I want to say that with the idea of settling the land comes heightened responsibility. He talks about the second goal- he says that’s the first goal of settling in Eretz Yisrael, possession in the land, a refuge for Jews in Czarist Russia. The second goal is uniting all Jews throughout the world but he says we have to be very careful. He talks about another society, the Kol Yisrael society, where Jews are united but not under the banner of Torah. So he says we have to do it under the banner of Torah- so here comes the limits of his tolerance. If you turn the page, you see the last paragraph on page 178: What he says is that even mitzvoth that are not Teluyot b’Aretz (not bound to the land of Israel), the stakes of keeping them are higher, their reward and punishment is higher in Eretz Yisrael than anywhere else in the world. Even the rational mitzvoth such as honoring your mother and father, what’s the reward? That I lengthen your days on the land which Hashem your God gave you. How much more so the Chukim/ statutes that we don’t understand. And we have to be more careful in the Palace of the King (Eretz Yisrael is the Palace of the King) than we would in the Exile. And because of this – just as- yes, Ezra brought the mechalelei Shabbat in and the people with foreign wives, yes, he brought them in, but he made them get rid of their wives! So we want people who are good spiritually for the land and will observe the mitzvoth. What ensues is a series of lettesr between Pinsker and the Netziv in which the Netziv gets word of some Chilul Shabbat and other non-observance in some of the new communities of Chibat Tzion such as Gedeirah in the new Yishuv and he is very upset about it and argues the following should be done: 1) In Gedeirah, the situation is so bad that it cannot be rectified. At that time, Baron Rothschild had taken over control of those Yeshuvim and Netziv argues that Rothschild should export them out of Palestine and import religious people from Jerusalem to settle the Yishuv and solve their economic woes. 2) There should be a religious overseer by other Yishuvim to make sure they are observing the halakha. They should bring in a Maggid who preaches on Shabbat about Trumos and Maasros- tithes and the mitzvoth teluyot b’aretz. He even says the whole future at stake is dependant on it and quotes the second paragraph of Shma, the rain is dependant on it.
13 In conclusion, what do we see? We see that the Netziv did see redemptive potential in Chibat Tzion, was willing to work with non-observant Jews for the sake of settling Eretz Yisrael although he did not use the term atchalta d’geula, we see something like this in his thought. At the same time, he is only willing to work with the sinners on condition that the settlers be observant and he would enforce this by non-democratic means. We’re out of time but a fascinating book if any of you are interested in seeing the whole relationship between the Orthocox and the Chibat Tzion movment- by Ehud Luz called “Parallels Meet.” Parallels Meet talks about the relationship between the Rabbis and Chibat Tzion from 1880s to World War I. Basically, al regel achat, this relationship between Netziv and Chibat Tzion lasts till 1889 and 1889 was a Shemita year and the yishuv and many of the settlers want to find a halakhic way out/ heter mechira and many Rabbis don’t want to do this and most Rabbis leave the movement in Lithuania over this. A small group stays in the movement, particularly focused on R’ Shlomo Mohlenleir. Achad Ha’am gets more complicated by 1890s where you have cultural Zionism – movement which NONE of the Rabbis can reconcile themselves with. Cultural Zionism seeks to create modern secular culture instead of religious culture. Some stay with movement and many leave. Dr. Aaron Koller CAN LIFE GO ON WITHOUT A TEMPLE? A DEBATE IN SECOND TEMPLE AND RABBINIC JUDAISM The question broadly phrased is how to deal with a new reality. It’s a religious question. When reality changes, one can do that in a number of ways. As a new divine plan, one can view it as a b’dieved situation, something that is unfortunately necessary but hopefully only temporary. One can deal with these new situations variously from a religious perspective. This is a question that harbors over many chapters of intellectual history. For those who are missing it right now, Yael Leibowitz is speaking about the human condition after Gan Eden and the same question could be asked there- was that an ideal? Should ideally humans be at peace with animals, naked and vegetarian or was that a lesson in what can’t be? Maybe that was a nice hava mina but really human life as we know it which involves hard work, accomplishments and achivements- open question and you can find varying views on that particular issue. How do you deal with a change reality? How do you deal with the fact that the religious elite were the Batei Mikdash were Kohanim? It was originally supposed to be the Firstborn! So is that supposed to be embraced, where now the new reality is the better one? Or in some sense should the firstborn really be the elite; maybe we should try to get back to that in some way. This is a religious question; not a question of are we going to free ourselves from religion. Has God changed his mind, opted for a new plan? Or has God always stuck to his original plan and it is only unfortunate and hopefully temporary that we have to accommodate the new reality?
14 The topic that we will look at in detail is the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, specifically the second one. And we’ll try to see how people dealt with this. Regarding destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash we have less information. We have relatively a lot of information when you talk about the context of biblical thought but still from the perspective of modern history we have relatively little information. By second temple we have a lot- rabbinic, non-rabbinic, before destruction, after destruction. So we will try to survey some of these and dwell on question of how Chazal dealt with it after the fact. But we’ll start during the days of Bayit Sheini. We are going to look at people who were writing about the Biet Hamikdsash while it was standing. The first source will allow us to get a sense of how central the Beit Hamikdash was during its existence- are we just being anachronistic when we think back and think about Beit Hamikdash as center of religious existence? Do people really look at Beit Hamikdash as center of religious lives? First source you have is the Book of Maccabbees which is not in Tanakh but is in the apocrypha. As you know from the story of Chanuka, there is a period of time when the Biet Hamikdash was not under Jewish control. It was desecrated, taken away by the Seleucids (?) – the text says this was religious trauma, religious catastrophe. You know the paragraph that Jerusalem was uninhabited like a desert, joy had disappeared from Jacob and everyone was silent. Old place for Tefilla- place from Shaul- why Shaul? Shaul is last time before you had a Beit Hamikdash, so they look back to that- Mtizpah seems to be the appropriate place to do that. So that day they fasted and cried aloud: What should we do with these men and where shall we take them? For your sanctuary has been trampled and profaned and your priests are in mourning and humiliation. Don’t’ have to wait till year 70 to see how people dealt with the loss of the Beit Hamikdash because even before then the Jews were divided into various groups. Tehse groups were divided into many different issues. Among the issues about which they were divided were issues related to the Mikdash, Hilchot Tumah v’Tahara and suchlike, and also bigger issues- the calendar was a source of debate. Some Jews held with a solar calendar (people from Qumran, perhaps all the Sadduccees)- that affects everything. IF we can’t agree on when the Chagim are, we will have a big debate about which Korban to bring today. So obviously it comes down to who is in control of the Mikdash. So we have at least scattered sources of how to react to the loss of the Mikdash/ are not in control of it. How do you grapple with it? We have sources from Qumran, sect of the Dead Sea Scrolls. One of the theological problems of Dead Sea Scrolls is you never quite know how representative they are- you know there is a group of people, not so many, they wrote and read and kept lots of books. We find these books, we only have them from this funny place out in the Judean desertdoes anyone else know about this? Are they idiosyncratic and fringe works or do they represent streams of thought that are more common? Problem hanging over Dead Sea Scrolls- but here we just want to see how they viewed themselves. They made themselves
15 into a fringe group, whether or not they would have been perceived as such by others, and they are living off by themselves. No impact on the Mikdash right now but at least once they wrote a letter trying to convince everyone to agree with them; as far as we know, no one cared. We can tell how they dealt internally with his problem. Source 2- commentary on book of Havakuk from Qumran. From standards of what WE see as being a commentary, they are not very good- don’t’ explain words and give definitons, but they do explain to the members of their group how this is relevant to us, how these texts are being fulfilled in our own lives. And the Qumran commentary says that Levanon in the pasuk in Havakuk is Us! Why would they say Levanon is us? The background to this seems to be something you have in Chazal as well- for example in a commentary by R’ Yochanan ben Zakkai we say that there is no Levanon without meaning Beit Hamikdash. Apparently when Moshe said he wanted to see that good mountain and the temple that stands on top of it- Levanon is the Beit Hamikdash. Why is that an appropriate term? Apparently because of the cedar trees that were brought down from the Levanon. Whether this is true in biblical times is an open question. What is true is that Jews in Bayit Sheini times thought that Levanon in certain pesukim at least referred to Beit Hamikdash. So Levanon IS US! So Qumran said that in response to not having the Beit Hamikdash we ARE the Beit Hamikdash over here in the desert. Whatever used to be of value in the Mikdash is not of value anymore because they are doing everything wrongeverything is tamei and they are on the wrong days so the Mikdash is worthless! So how can we function? We need a replacement mikdash- we ARE the replacement Mikdash! We see that reflected in a number of the practices of people of Qumran. One of the betterknown practices si that as far as we could tell there were no women there. Seems to have been a celibate existence, completely male. Question is why? Doesn’t sound like a Jewish practice. Part of the explanation might be a law they have which is repeated in some of their legal texts. So this law is directed at males: Any male who sleeps with his wife (not a question of sin) is not allowed to enter the city of the Mikdash in which I will cause my name to reside for three days! Apparently they extended these halakhot to all of Jerusalem. What does that have to do with the group of Qumran? Well, if they view themselves as the incarnation of the Beit Hamikdash, then they can’t have women there, etc, because they are an incarnation of the Beit Hamikdash! This halakha was clearly important to them because it is repeated over and over. One may not have marital relations in the city of the Mikdash because it would defile the city… Viewed their own settlement in the desert as an incarnation of the Mikdash.
16 Last source from Qumran is actually taken a little out of context. St. Damascus Covenant have a rule about sending Korbanot- can’t you at least participate, send a shaliach, find a Tuesday that you all agree on and decide to sponsor the Korban Tamid today? Possibly in response to that there is a law that one may not send a sacrifice or even the wood in the hand of an impure person because that would defile the altar. Apparently the pasuk in Mishlei that says the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to God and the prayer of the upright is what he desires. He paraphrases (on purpose or not on purpose) that he sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination and the prayer of the righteous is LIKE the offering of his desire. Why are we not participating in the Mikdash? 1) The Korban itself would be defiled because an Ish Tamei is bringing it 2) We have something just as good! We have Tefila! Our Tefilot are just as good as the Korbanot being offered at the Mikdash How did the people of Qumran deal with not being in control of the Mikdash? Well, they were- you’re just looking at the wrong Mikdash. The real Mikdash that’s here, off in the desert; it’s only us, we have to work very hard to safeguard it and make sure it remains pure- all the laws which applied to the Mikdash are now applied to our Mikdash, our settlement in Qumran. Next group that we will look at are the early Christians. Jesus lives and dies before the Mikdash is ever destroyed. We have some actual early Christian literature from before Churban HaBayit and certainly the four Gospels are all written after the Churban HaBayit. So there is always a methodological danger- are they accurately reflecting what happened 60 years ago during a Beit Hamikdash? Hard to know but let’s look at the stories that we do have. Two stories that seem relevant: Mark 13:2- so the disciple mentions the stones and buildings. Jesus says to him, “o you see these great buildings? There will not be one stone left upon another that will not be thrown down!” Jesus is not so excited about this Beit Hamikdash. Mark 11:15-19 He says, Is it not written: My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have made it a den of thieves! The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it and were seeking a way to put him to death… So here’s a good Jewish boy from the Galil – where does this come from? Here’s a Mikdash that he felt was corrupt. Is he totally on his own there? Seems not.
17 Tosefta in Menachot 13, 4- popular dirge/ lament about the Mikdash- Woe to me because of Yishmael ben Pabi, woe to me because of their fists! Their sons are ____ and beat us with sticks! So this is not some fringe guy who ends up founding a new religion; this is in a Tosefta. So there was obviously internal criticism about the way the Beit Mikdash functioned. I think it would be a mistake to read these Christian stories and say here we have the seeds of what will later mean the Mikdash should be defunct! No, Jesus’ original view here is not a fringe view. So the way he sees to repair this is to destroy the Mikdash and then rebuild it! But that doesn’t allow us to move into the next group that we will look at- actually we’ll move a little backwards in time. The group called the Perushim, the Pharisees, who have something in common with Chazal, whether they come from Chazal or Chazal drew inspiration from them- the Chachamim, Sages of Mishna and Gemara- how can we aks how the Pharisees do anything with lack of control of Mikdash? Everyone listens to the Pharisees! That seems to have been true fo rat least the last century of the Mikdash but there seems to have been a time earlier on where they were not in control. A few sources. Well-known story in the Mishna in Sukkah that comes up only Derech Agav- by the way- there. Talking about Nisuch HaMayim- that when the – whoever is doing Nisuch Hamayim is going to pour the water in the special Sukkot ceremony that has no basis in Chumash anywhere (other than missing letters in Bamidbar, I shouldn’t say that)- that has no basis in Chumash anywhere- the Perushim thought this was very important, central part of Sukkot. So they would tell the Kohen pick up your hand because one time the guy doing it refused to pour the water on the Mizbeach but poured it on his feet and everyone threw Etrogim at him! This is elaborated in a Beraita in Sukkah- Tanu Rabbanan, story of a Sadducee – they add a detail which is of interest which maybe we could have guessed- that this guy did it because he was a Sadducee! Why did he do it? Because they rejected the Oral Law, whatever that means- that is not so simple to do- at least they rejected things like this, Nisuch HaMayim which seems to have no basis on Chumash so Sadducee poured the water on his feet rather than the Mizbeach. So who put that Sadducee up there? How did he gain control of the Mikdash? It’s unlikely that he infiltrated, dressed up like a Pharisee and snuck into the Mikdash! If we can correlate that story with a story told in Josephus in Antiquities 13:13:5, then we can even get more specific about it. You have a story right under that. Josephus is talking about Alexander Yanai- his own people were seditious against him, for at a festival which was then celebrated, when he stood upon the altar, and was going to sacrifice, the nation rose upon him, and pelted him with citrons (he explains why exactly the Jews have citrons)- at this he was in a rage an slew of them about six thousand. Certainly it would seem this is correlated with the other story in which case we have a lot more information- we can say it is under Alexander Yanai so we can date it, we know that
18 Alexander Yanai is following rulers of Sadducees rather than Perushim. We know that he was in a rage and slew about 6000, so this gets violent! This nisuach ha’mayim has violent implications. If so- there is a timeline at top of the next page- just to accentuate this, the Chashmonaim take control from the Seleucids. The Qumran sect (I pretty much picked the date at random) – sometime around 150, moves to Qumran and then the Mikdash is under control of Perushim per Chazal. Yanai becomes king in 103, no reason to think this is the first year, but maybe it was- and under Yanai the practices were dicated by Tzedukim, not Perushim. How long does this last? We have a couple hints to that. Let’s start with the second one, the later source, a story told by Abaye about Yanai HaMelekh. So this guy Yehuda ben Yididya says to Yanai, Yanai the King, enough that you have the crown of the monarchy, leave the crown of the priesthood to the priests! So then he killed Kol Chachmei Yisrael and the world was made silent from Chazal’s perspective and this lasted till Shimon ben Shetach and returned the world to its former glory. Brother-in-law of Shlomtzion, Queen- so about 175 BCE. This story is from reign of Yannai till end of his reign till Shlomtzion comes to the throne. One more piece of support for this scheme might be a story told relatively often about Hillel- One time they were unsure as to whether Korban Pesach was Docheh Shabbat or not. Popular story, tells us a lot about Hillel as a person, and for our purposes tells us about the history of the Mikdash. How can this tell us anything? How often is Erev Pesach going to fall on Shabbat? How long could possibly elapse between last time and this time? You can do your calculations- it’s not 1 in 7, but it should not be that rare- why does no one remember what you did last time? So one Talmid in Hebrew University, Yaakov Zusman- that maybe it’s a hint that for a long time Perushim had not been in charge of the Beit Hamikdash. So this would never come up – only when Perushim take control of the Mikdash again would it be an issue again. That’s why it was such an enigma. Chronologically, this works out relatively well. Hillel apparently comes influential in about roughly 60 BCE (basically lots of partially conflicting statements about this) – so this correlates fairly well. (QUESTIONER) Seems like Shimon ben Shetach would have to come back early, story by Shlomtzion and Shimon ben Shetach eating and didn’t know how to bentch so Shlomtzion said that she could provide Shimon ben Shetach(KOLLER) Yannai might have been happy not to kill him on the spot but granting him authority over the Mikdash is not necessarily the next step from there. (QUESTIONER) Might have actually been by Pesach on Shabbat more rare because of *insert stuff I don’t understand*
19 (KOLLER) But obviously it happened here… Now what we seem to have establishd is that Perushim did not have control of Mikdash whole time it was standing. So if Perushim were out of control, then what DID they do? What we know is that they did not set up an outpost in the Judean desert. Story you just mentioned, Shimon ben Shetach is in Yerushalayim. So they are around. Participating directly in the Mikdash? There are a couple hints that they might be participating but it is hard to really prove. Seem to have a much firmer toehold in Yerushalayim- at least in their own minds they have not given up entirely. So when Shimon ben Shetach gains his authority- at leaet because of influence of Shlomtzion then they are there- so this is very different from the Qumran group which has given up entirely. They’ve closed it up- so they say we’re going to retreat, withdraw and wait for world to become a different place. That sets the stage for responses after the Churban. Now not just a question of Mikdash controlled by someone else but there is no Mikdash! How to respond to that? Quickly talk about Qumran and early Christians but really want to talk about Chazal, because we have a lot more sources and a realy dynamic discussion. Qumran: Can say nothing, as far as we can tell they disappear- settlement is destroyed by Romans and the people, we don’t know! We lose track of them! Maybe they gave up their distinctive religious ways, maybe they got folded into the new Judaism- maybe we just don’t know about them- it’s very hard to say. So at least given what we saw earlier in their thought, it’s not so surprising that we lose track of them. Mikdash in Jersualem is almost irrelevant. All they had was their community but their community is now also destroyed. To the extent that we can guess what would have happened- they would have a to grapple with a tremendous blow to their self-identity. They lose their whole center of existence. Do they give up their beliefs and fall into Chazal? Not impossible but hard to imagine. Such a difference is hard to imagine- doesn’t seem like a reasonable thing to expect any group to do. So what happened to the people? Very hard to say. In one generation a group can disappear even if they don’t die- if they don’t pass on their beliefs. 50 years later there will be no more beliefs left. (QUESTIONER) Isn’t there pretty strong evidence that settlement was completely wiped out by Romans? (KOLLER) Yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean every single person is executed. That it was violent is clear but that every single person was wiped out is not at all clear- but your point is a good point
20 The ideas pretty much disappear- we don’t have any identifiably Qumran writings from any time after 70. The people as a movement seem to disappear. The Christians relatively quickly at least move on to an obvious view that we don’t’ need sacrifices anymore. Why not? Because we have brought the one ultimate sacrifice. God has sacrificed his own son, so all other sacrifices are defunct, unnecessary. Jeseus had thought that there should be Mikdash, just not the way it was run. In any event, Christians have moved on, not pining for it, they’ve moved on. Another example of Christian supercessionism- the sacrifice of Jesus has changed the nature of religion. As for why the Mikdash was destroyed, you have one interesting passage by Hippolytus writing an objective “Treatise Against the Jews.” He says the reason the Temple was destroyed is because the Jews “killed the Son of their Benefactor.” Now, this sounds vaguely familiar. Statement of R’ Yohanan ben Torta in 130s who says that Bayit Rishon was destroyed because of idolatry, homicide, sexual impropriety in the Mikdash, but we know that these people were actually good people. We know that they wer elearning Torah; they were careful about masser, so why were they exiled? Because they were money hungry! If he means that was going on in Mikdash itself, then reminiscent to what Jesus said- den of thieves! But interesting that both Hippolytus and R’ Yohanan ben Torta say it’s not because of any of these three. Hippolytus say it’s because the Jews killed Jesus and R’ Yohanan ben Torta doesn’t say that (laughter) – that leads us to Chazal proper. Chazal- Tanaim, Amoraim- how did they deal with the fact that they did not live with a Beit Hamikdash? The fact that thigns seems to have changed can be seen in a neat fashion from one passage in the Sifrei- talking about Devarim 11, the second parsha of Shma, last source on Page 3. R’ Eliezer the son of Yaakov says you are to serve Him, worship Him, with your entire heart and entire beings- this is a warning to the priests that their hearts shouldn’t be divided while they are doing the Avodah. Avodah= Korbanot. R’ Eliezer ben Yaakov is someone we know lived under the Mikdash. So according to him Avodah means in the Beit Hamikdash. That is how it was understood when the Temple existed. Other anonymous Tanaim say that works for you, but we don’t have one! So they suggest alternatives like Tefila. Talmud Torah, perhaps. Professor Elman wrote about conflicting values of Tefila and Talmud Torah- which one we opt for is a question, but it has to be something we have. Who reached this/ how did they reach this?
21 In this we can see various personalities adopting different views. Whether they actually adopted them or are imagined to have adopted them, are questions beside the point for right now. Different Tanaim who stake out distinctive positions: R’ Yohanan ben Zakkai (snuck out to create Yavneh)- Sad about Mikdash but you have to move on, save what you can save. Look at his famous Takanot- in the time of the Mikdash they used to blow the Shofar in the Mikdash on Shabbat, but not anywerhe elseand similarly, or not similarly, comparably, they used to have mitzvah of lulav and esrog only one day everywhere else and 7 days at Mikdash. So zecher l’mikdash- takanot are to remember the mikdash. Another example, gemara in Rosh Hashana- nine other takanot, one of which was only true in Mikdash and now true everywhere that Kohanim could not go up to duchen wearing shoes. They had to go barefoot. What does it mean: zecher l’mikdash? To some extent, so that Mikdash will not pass from your memory. But on the other hand, there is a large amount here of moving on. So now the Kohanim take off their shoes before going up to the Duchan. But much more likely we see we have a fair substitute for Mikdash- to show us we have a minor incarnation of the Mikdash. That’s the Batei Knesset. The shuls are a Mikdash M’at. So is the Mikdash totally gone? No, not entirely. One interesting story in the next source starting from after the ellipses- R’ Yochanan ben Zakkai was walking with R’ Yehoshua and saw the place where the Mikdash was destroyed. Woe to us, we don’t have the Mikdash anymore- R’ Yochanan ben Zakkai says – Yehoshua, it’s okay; don’t worry too much about it. Now we have gemilut chasadim to atone for our sins and that works just as well if not better. R’ Yochanan ben Zakkai seems to be saying Mikdash was great in its time and I am sad that it left- cries, wails and screams in Avot d’Rebbe Natan- but religious life moves on. Not just that we have to grapple with it because we have to live – it’s not a question of progressive freeing oneself from antiquated past. It’s a question of looking at this and saying God must want this. R’ Yehoshua seems to have learned his lesson because next story is that R’ Yehoshua met a group of people who were ascetics. They said they were doing this because: Should we eat meat which used to be offered as sacrifices, drink wine which was offered? So R’ Yehoshau says at that point: Fruits because of Bikurim? Water ofeerings! Give up everything! No, you can’t do that- so her is what you should do. You can’t not mourn at all- it is a punishment. But to mourn more than necessary – can’t go to extremes, can’t spend all our day mourning for it because this must be a Gezera which we want get. Two more sources; I meant four more sources but two more points. First- comparison of two sources. One of these is a well-known story. Five rabbis were sitting in Bnei Brak (out of the Haggada). And then parallel story told in the Tosefta with different characters and in Lod.
Rabbi Akiva and his friends are talking about Yetzias Mitzrayim. Raban Gamliel is dwelling on Pesach all the night. So they are not giving up on what used to be. They are talking about the Korban Pesach even though they can’t bring it. Rabbi Akiva- he’s moved on- Korban Pesach not necessarily mentioned at all. Raban Gamliel is the one who says the Pesach HAS to be mentioned (in the Haggada.) Raban Gamliel is very consistent- there are other Mishnayot where Rabbi Gamliel says that one is allowed to roast a kid on Erev Pesach and eat it at the meal. (Not a kid. Not your kid. Laughter.) We’re going to have something that looks just like a Korban Pesach on your table and at least one person tells a story- go roast a kid and make it for us! Why do we NOT do it? Because we follow Rabbi Akiva who says we have to move on. Story at end of Makkot: Rabbis walking around, Raban Gamliel included, and they are all crying and he is laughing. Foxes running around. So Rabbi Akiva says he knows it will be rebuilt one day- reality is reality but we have to look forward. Makes sense that they would come to him- seder where they can move on. To close, I would just mention the last source that you have, the last one on page 6. Talking about the arrival of Mashiach ben David. Ulla says he should come, but I don’t want to see him (after I’m dead.) I think that perfectly captures the ambivalence of what everyone felt. Deep ambivalence of thinking about the past- do you really want to go back to a time where there are no Batei Midrash, the lifestyle is not learning and davening but handing off sheep to be slaughtere don the altar? In one sense, yes, that is what we want to get back to, but on the other hand, not really! I’ve come to terms with the life that I have inherited- not so sure I want to give it up to go back to that. Resolved differently by Tanaim and some of the Amoraim as well. Do we want to strive to cling to the past or try to say we move on because the past is over? Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster BUILDING THE JEWISH NATION IN THE TIME OF NEHEMIAH Good afternoon, everyone. We’ll wait another minute or two since this is supposed to start at one. I’m going to begin by giving an introduction to what it is I am going to do and if it is not of interest then I won’t be insulted if you go to a different shiur. I want to speak more specifically on a particular issue that comes up in books of Ezra and Nehemiah. It’s a historical issue rather than a literary issue. It’s how the Jews who come back from Bavel deal with those who remained in Israel throughout the Galut. 586 let’s say, there is an exile from Eretz Israel. Many Jews are exiled and arrive in Bavel. They remain in Bavel for close to 70 years and then return in waves to Eretz
23 Israel. But there is also a community that stays in Eretz Israel for those 70 years. How do those Jews deal with those who remained in the country? So this is primarily historical exposition. I will solve a technical problem in one pasuk. But primarily we are going to be dealing with historical issues and larger sociological issues. If people prefer to hear one of the other shiurim, this is a good time to participate. Great, so I haven’t bored you yet. Let’s move on. This is such a background- I’m going to now give a background to what happens after the Galut. The Exile happens from 586 and prior. By 585, everyone who has been exiled is exiled. The Babylonians are in control of the country to some extent and we actually know a lot about the Jewish community in Bavel during these years. We know this partly from Ezekiel and primarily from administrative documents that have surfaced over the past 100 years. We know that people settled in ghettoized communities- there was a City of the Jews in Bavel, a City of Ehtiopians in Bavel. We know this from the names that appear in the contracts- containing names, classic Judaean names, saying they live in the city of the Jews. What happens during the time of the return? WAVES OF IMMIGRATION • • • Initial Wave: c. 538 BCE, at the time of Cyrus’ declaration 2nd Wave at the time of Darius I (Haggai and Zechariah): c. 520 BCE 3rd Wave under Ezra and Nehemiah: c- 458-432 BCE
First wave is a fairly small wave, continuing on to the 2nd wave. Second time is the time of Daryavesh. There is a new, renewed interest in immigrating to Israel, partly spurred on by political situation. Daryavesh succeeds to throne after a period of chaos. A second wave comes up, probably the one associated with Zerubavel, certainly the one associated with Haggai and Zechariah. About 100 years after the process has begun, we have the 3rd and most significant wave. This is under Ezra and Nehemia. I am not going to get into the dating controversy of Ezra and Nehemia; I’ll take this as a ballpark date. The question we are dealing with primarily comes up regarding the 2nd and 3rd waves that we are dealing with. First wave- they establish the Mizbeach in Yerushalayim and offer sacrifices; that seems to stop at some point. In 520, by 2nd wave, question comes up: who are the Jews? Same question that comes up in State of Israel in 1950s, famous shalit case, brother DanielWHO IS TO BE “INCLUDED?” Who is part of the US that defines the Jewish community and what act defines the Jewish community in the return to Eretz Israel? More than anything else there is the participatinon in the building of the Beit Hamikdash.
24 So see Ezra 4:1. Famous interchange by Ezra. For those who have trouble reading Hebrew, you should learn, and if you have Hebrew-English Tanakhim, that’s great. I will try to explain. “Some enemies of Yehuda and Binyamin hear that Benei HaGolah (the People who are come back from the Exile) and they come and they hear they are building a Heichal, a Temple, and they say to them: Nivneh Imachem, We will build with you. Why? Because we are also worshippers of your God. And for many years we’ve been worshipping him. They say we’ve been in the land since the time of the Assyrians.” The answer that they are given: Zerubavel the Nasi and Yehoshua the Kohen Gadol say, “It’s not for you and for us together to build the House, because we alone will build.” We are not interested in participation with you. So this is a very explicit rejection of these people. These people seem to have immigrated to the land in the time of the Assyrians. Based on this, this passage is usually understood to be a reference to the Samaritans who live in the city of Sumeria. People who were brought by Assyrians to live there around 720 BCE (for more on them read Melachim II, Chapter 17). Babylonians exile people from Yehuda but don’t bring in immigrants, while the Assyrians exiled people from Yisrael and brought in immigrants. We also have the people of Yehuda who were never exiled there. And then the returnees from Bavel. Plus there are any Canaanim and Pelishtim who remained in the country. So there are a lot of different people living in the country right now. So how did the people of Bavel relate to those who remained in Israel during the exile? Will they reject them too? So let’s look at Ezra 4:4. Am Ha’aretz (people of the land) and Am Yehuda (the people of Yehuda) are mentioned here. To what group do the people who remained in Israel belong- Am Ha’Aretz or Am Yehuda? That remains opaque in this passage. We begin to show some concern with solving this problem in Ezra 6. Here we have the celebration of Pesach, the concluding episode of the narrative of the second wave. Pesach is important because Pesach is a defining moment in terms of who participates. The question of who is a Jew is defined at Pesach. Classic example: Even a Jew who is arel may not eat from it, certainly a non-Jew. Famous story- Rabbi Yehuda ben Beteira and gentile from the Galil who tries to eat from the Pesach. Pesach is a time when we specifically exclude gentiles from eating of the Pesach sacrifice. Great! Who are the gentiles and who are the Jews?
Okay, so who is participating here in Ezra 6: 19? Those who returned! We’re in better shape than the Pesach of Chizkiyahu, the Kohanim and Leviim have all become pure. So they offer the Pesach offering and it’s the Bnei Ha’Golah, the returnees, who offer it. But then we have an additional pasuk. And Bnei Yisrael Ha’Shavim Min Ha’Golah- the ones who have returned- eat from it, and additionally those who have Separted Themselves from the Impurity of the Nations of the Land. There is a concept in Ezra and Nechemiah; we see this particularly in the story of the gentile women in Ezra (Ezra Chapter 9, I believe); we have this concept that the people who remained in the land are Tamei. Does that mean just the gentiles or the Jews who were never exiled? Well, in this pasuk we see that it is plausible for those who are NOT Bnei HaGolah to separate themselves from those who are Tamei and to join in worshipping God and bringing the Pesach sacrifice. So it is possible for those who remained in the land to come and be worshippers on par. Beginning of acceptance with some of those who remained in the land and allowing them to worship. To me that seems clear, implicit in pasuk. Does anyone want to argue? (Someone argues.) Peshat in pasuk seems to say that they will only allow those returning from Bavel to schecht but will allow everyone to eat. You are right. Then there is a halakhic technical issue. In order to participate in the schechting for Pesach, you have to not be Tamei Met. On the other hand, these people – we are not told they participated in some kind of ritual but just separated themselves from nations of the land; it seems a sociological distinction. We are not told that they do an act of Tahara but just separate themselves from Tumah! (QUESTIONER) Wouldn’t the people who stayed in the land and were never exiled be the ones who really belong there? (ASTER) Not the perception of Sefer Ezra- it is written from the point of view of the Jews who returned and believe themselves to be the Jews. Galut Bavel begins at least 597 if not earlier. Begins with exile of elite society so that only the poorest of the land remain. According to Sefer Melachim, there are Jews who remain in Eretz Yisrael. Now, what societal group are they? They are the poorest of the people, those who don’t have the luxury to engage in education/ who don’t have luxury to participate in learning. More clearly, we can see this geographically. [THERE IS A MAP ON THE SLIDESHOW. YAY.] The key point here is who is exiled. We know this geographically. City of Jerusalem is entirely exiled- desolate, razed, empty (by this I mean destroyed- not that the building
26 sare destroyed, but no settlement in Jersualem after Galut Bavel.) One of the areas where the Babylonains succeed in completely emptying it. We can then get a clear sense of which areas had continued settlement from time of Bavel and which did not. We have this picture based on archeology because the period of Galut Bavel, the Babylonian period- you go around and look at archeological sites. You do either digs or intensive surveys. Survey is when you do a section of a tel on a dig: in what periods was this site settled? So if you have settlement from 1000 BCE, 700 BCE, 597, 586, continuity of settlement, then there’s never been a break in the settlement of that site and that is one where Jews remained during the period of Galut Bavel. If there’s no burn layer there, then you know there is continuity. In contrast, you have other sites that are abandoned before 700 or burnt by 597. The dating rests on the pottery to figure out when the sites were settled. Particular types of pottery that are characteristic of Persian period/ Babylonian period. And in sites where you have a break in settlement, you know there is no continuity. The archeology of the period has been greatly clarified in the last 10 years by a scholar named Oded Lipschits. He works based on the technique of settled dunams. Look at page 3 of your packets and you will see which of these were settled by the end of the Iron Age, and how many were settled during the Persian period. And he gives you a fairly precise breakdown. You’ll see in the area of Benjamin (north of Yerushalayim), you have 1150 dunam by end of Iron Age and 500 dunam by Persian. Assuming that it remains largescale. Here you see that the decrease is by 56.5% - so about half the people are exiled. Look at Jerusalem- the settled area decreases by 90% during the Exile. Southern Judea Hills – area from Chevron and South. You have a large decline in that area because of the Exile- that area is very difficult to defend. There are certain other areas, Beer-sheba area and Eastern strip, by which they mean the Desert areas, the periphery of Judah + Jerusalem- what area does not decline in population? Please look at page 3. Northern Judean hills roughly corresponds to the area designated as the municipality of Gush Etzion. Contains more or less the whole Northern Judean hills. Beitar or Beit Lechem all the way south to Tekoa. Beit Hakerem (historic Beit HaKerem)- did anyone go to Midreshet Lindenbaum? Where’s Beit Hakerem? Top of the hill of Brovenders/ Midreshet Lindenbaum. Ramat Rachel archeological site- that whole area from Ramat Rachel south to Beit Tzur. If you’re going South on Jerusalem/ Chevron road, you get to Gush Etzion, next major Arab town is called Chalchul, I think that is the only town that has not changed in 3 and ½ thousand years. Called Chalchul in Melachim and nowadays. So this whole area seems to have had no decrease in population at time of Galut Bavel. This is going to be extremely significant in understanding this.
Look at page 4 and you’ll see this graphically illustrated- black tower, then grey tower for Benjamin is half the height of the previous black tower. So Northern Judea has very little exile. So how do Ezra and Nechemia deal with these people? This is the question I want to expose for the next 10-15 minutes. Briefly we will look at Nechemia 5 and then focus on Nechemia 3. Nechemia 5 is an overall discussion dealing with the sociological- economic problem among the people. Problem is the credit crunch. There is screaming amongst the Jewish people against their brothers. Who is screaming against whom? Our children are many, we don’t have enough food for them. Verse 3: Even more dire economic straits. We will give over our land as a bond; give us food so we may eat. Verse 4: We have borrowed money in order to pay the King’s taxes; we have no money now to live on. And who are those who are supposed to/ lending the money? It’s not the Babylonian officials. It’s the Jews who have returned who seem to be lending the money to the ones who remained in the exiles. Why do I say that? At the very least it is very clear that there are rich Jews and poor Jews and rich Jews are lending to poor Jews. Look at Nechemia’s response. He complains to Chorim and Sganim- they are Jews here. Jewish officials appointed by the Persian government. Why is he arguing with these Jewish officials? They seem to have money and I think it makes sense to understand that these Jewish officials appointed by the Persians are people who are part of Persian imperial process as opposed to those who remains in the land over the centuries. You could argue with me on that, but at the very least you have to agree there are rich Jews and poor Jews and Nechemia is telling the rich Jews: You can’t do this; you have to be fair to the poor Jews! He demands from them in verse 11- let them live, give them back their money. Nechemia is concerned with creating some type of integration with different sectors of the population. Geography to Economic Split to showing how Nechemia uses that Economic Split. This is a good time for questions. (QUESTIONER) Do we have a feel for who owned the land? (ASTER) The yellow marks on this map are the cities mentioned in Chapter 11 of Nechemia. The exiles seem to have the idea that if there is empty land, then the Jews can come claim it. (DIFF QUESTIONER) If I remember correctly from the beginning of Ezra, when they say let’s go back and if you don’t go back, then give money to us anyway so they’d have money from there too.
28 (ASTER) So basically the Jewish UJA in the time of Ezra gave them money. Yup! Maybe the lesson is that the UJA should spread the money more fairly and not give to the AACI. Nehemia Chapter 5: Attempt to rebuild the wall of Yerushalayim. If you look at the structure of Sefer Nehemia, it’s really structured along the same lines as Sefer Yehoshua. It begins with a discussion of the immigration to Eretz Yisrael- then there’s the great sin of Nashim Nachriyot which parallels the sin of Achan. Nehemia/ Ezra Immigration Nashim Nachriyot (sin) Period of conquest (building of wall of Jerusalem- because Am Ha’aretz opposes the building of the wall) Law: Brit Emunah Joshua Immigration Achan (sin) Period of conquest (31 kingdoms) Law: Brit of Shchem
The wall here is a major attempt that has certain ceremonial aspects. Let’s look at the wall building in Chapter 3. The Kohanim are given the privilege of beginning the building of the Beit Hamikdash. Generally when people read this perek, they read it as a meaningless list of places, names and people. Who are the people who are building the wall? What do we know about the people who are building the wall? They are Anshei Yericho. What do we know about Yericho based on archeology? Is it settled by exiles or returnees? Yericho is returnees, people who came back from Bavel. Now look at verse 3- we don’t know where Hasenaa is so clearly. Look now at verse 5. Who else participates in the building of the wall? Ha’Tekoim. Where is Tekoa? (CIRCLES IT ON MAP) It is central to understanding this perek. Tekoa is settled, not by returnees but by those who remained in the land. Tekoim participate with these other people mentioned in verse 3 and 4. And then we’re told the elite of Tekoa are not participating in the building of the wall. So the common people of Tekoa ARE participating. Who are the common people of Tekoa? The ones who stayed. The people of Tekoa are part of the wall-building process. So the wall-building process includes Kohanim, Returnees and also the common people of Tekoa who are among the remaining people. There is an integration of different groups in this wall-building project. This wall-building project becomes a sort of melting pot to define who is a Jew in Nechemia. So who is a Jew? Everyone who helps build Yerushalayim. So that answers the question of why the Samaritans are excluded. They are trying to build the Mikdash in Shomron! But who is a Jew? The ones who sanctify Jerusalem. Kind of
29 like the opposite of HaTikva- all those who turn to Zion are Jews- a little bit of an overstatement but not so much of one. Question of who is going to be included is here resolved by the idea that those who focused on Jerusalem were the ones allowed to be part of the community. Verse 7: Who are the participants? We have Givonim and Meironot (we don’t know where that is) and HaMitzpah. Mitzpah became temporarily the capital of Yisrael. People of Givon and Mitzpah are also among the remaining Jews. If we continue on and look at verse 9, who participates there? What type of individual participates there? The officer of the Persian appointment, probably a returnee, certainly a member of the elite. So we see here different sociological strata. Jerusalem is becoming a city that unites Jews because everyone has a stake in it. The concluding chapters of Nechemia speaks about how the very end of the Sefer there is this ceremonial procession around the walls of Jerusalem sanctifying the city. This is very difficult to understand halakhically because this does not correspond to it as we see in Mishna. Ceremonial and religious import in Nechemia because Jerusalem has such great importance for question of who is a Jew. So we see how Nechemia uses this to unite the Jews- altogether, the building of Jerusalem. I’m not going to go into the meaning of this for today; I think it is obvious. That’s the presentation; I’ll take a few questions. (QUESTIONER) Why do you think the wall-building is such a great process? (ASTER) Because you have to look at the Sefer- it mirrors Joshua, it is the central issue of the Sefer, central project and it ends with ceremonial procession. (DIFF QUESTIONER) In Ezra 4 it included Kohanim and Leviim. Why are Kohanim included in that and what do you know about the process? (ASTER) We don’t know the technical process of Tahara they underwent; we assume it corresponds roughly to Para Aduma. We know that Leviim in Bayit Sheni get a great deal of importance as singers in Beit Hamikdash. Do they have to undergo Taharat for that? Only in terms of in order to stand in the Mikdash they have to undergo Tahara. (ANOTHER QUESTIONER) What choice did Nechemia have? If he had not taken in the Jews just South of Jerusalem, his capital would have been indefensible? He can’t defend the city without them. (ASTER) It’s possible, but I think we all know the attitude Jewish people have sometimes- I don’t care if I succeed, I don’t care if I fail, you’re not part of my shul! Thank you everyone. Rabbi Yaakov Elman
30 THE PRINCIPLE OF “FIRST DARKNESS, THEN LIGHT” IN REB ZADOK’S VIEW OF CREATION, THE EXODUS AND HUMAN LIFE Okay, a couple of questions. How many of you are familiar with Hasidic writings? How many of you have seen anything written by R’ Zadok? (QUESTIONER) What’s your name? (Laughter). How many of you prefer Sepharadit or Ashkenazit? (Sepharadit.) You realize this is like a Chillul Hashem; we’re talking about a Chasidic Rebbe and using Sepharadit! The additional handout page is even more pertinent if you’re not familiar with Hasidic writings. First of all, the style is basic regular rabbinic style- Hebrew and Aramaic and passages cited from all over the place. R’ Tzadok was a big baki, the Zohar especially in addition to Chumash, Navi, etc- things that were published by the Vizzinschaft scholars in Austria/ Germany and that’s what he gives you. But I want to point out that we are not talking about a scholarly piece of research here. R’ Tzadok is presenting a view of history, creation and man and woman’s personal history based on Mekorot (Jewish sources) that don’t necessarily, even when combined, prove the point he is trying to make. This is an interpretation of sources; I think it’s a very compelling interpretationnot because it is based on those sources but because it helps us navigate a very complex and difficult world. If you’ll take the one-page handout I added to the three pages. (It’s the one from Tradition Magazine.) Quote from R’ Tzadok: “As is known, whenever anyone understands any matter clearly, the light of that Gate [of knowledge] becomes open to the world and is open to all, for this is the principle that God established for all the generations, even though they continually decline in ability.” So R’ Tzadok says that the later generations can know things the earlier generations did not know. He says this in Pri Tzadik; he got this from his Rebbe the Ishbitzer. At the time it was quite a chiddush to him. Despite the fact that we are not on the same level (spiritually, intellectually) if you take it down to the vulgar level- we are supposedly shorter than previous generations- despite that we can know things that earlier generations did not know. That already is a big chiddush. He says once a gate of knowledge is open, once someone makes a breakthrough in method or whatever it is, then everybody can go through. One person is a pioneer and everyone else goes through. You have the R’ Chaim and then you have everyone else down to R’ Lichtenstein, R’ Rosensweig. Once someone establishes a certain methodology and that does not have to be in Jewish Studies, then they go through that gate of knowledge and apply that method and get further results.
By the way, please note R’ Tzadok was a Rebbe. He was born a Misnagid; he was related to the Gra, the Vilna Gaon, was born in 1823 in Latvia and in his ‘20s he became a Chassid. Last 11 years of his life he became one of the Ishbitzer Rebbes. All the years of so-called silence he was continuously writing. We have now published 5 volumes of his writings and 5 volumes from his Tisch Torah. More than 10 sefarim because 1 volume can include several different books. All in all, they reflect a really consistent view of the world, although they differ in details, because we are talking about things written over more than 50 years. Once he understood the world in the terms I’ll explain it today, he was pretty consistent. Then he continues and says: “For once these lights are made available to every generation by the great ones among the ages of Israel, they are not sealed up; they remain open forever, and become fixed laws for all Israel. Therefore, even though later generations are inferior [to earlier ones], they nevertheless maintain their awareness pof knowledge], as dwarfs [on the shoulders of] giants..and they themselves continue the process of this opening of new Gates. Even though they themselves are greatly inferior [in comparison to their forebears, their insights] are more profound, for they have already passed through the Gates opened the earlier generations.” Kabbalah allows us to understand the world in a way that is much more nuanced than opposing shitot. It allows us to understand the mixture of good and evil, light and darkness in the world as we perceive it. Our hero has feet of clay and our villain is not so terrible, or however bad he is, there might even be some good coming out of his evil deeds. It’s that idea, I think, that really allows us/ is the idea that contributes to our understanding of the world. Let’s go now to the handout of 3 pages. What I did last night is produce a 1-page summary in Hebrew and English of my message today. So you can cheat because you may not get a test on this, but you’ll understand the world better than before hopefully. Page 1: The Torah is the map of the world. God looked into the Torah in order to see how to create the World. R’ Tzadok is going a step further, and this is a step the Ishbitzer already took- and that is that the Torah is not only the map of the Universe but what we would call the model of the Universe. And we will talk about the ways in which it is a model as we go throughhuman history, national history and personal history. And he would say even further the creation of the universe, as we’ll see. The Torah is a model of the Universe. What is recorded in the Torah is therefore important because, among other things, it helps us understand the Universe. 1) The Torah is a commentary on the Universe, and it will help you understand events that occur, and also the Universe is a commentary on the Torah. You use your experience to understand the Torah.
Rashi admitted when speaking to his grandson Rashbam that he would have to write new commentaries in light of the new understanding of the peshatim. The one that is more probable is that we now spend more time studying peshat than our ancestors did so we can therefore understand it better than they did. That’s probably what Rashbam meant. But it is not a contradiction to say that as we experience more of human history, we can look at the Torah with more knowing eyes. What the prophets foresaw, we can look back on. So we can understand better what the prophets meant than the people of their own time. Maaseh Avot Siman L’Banim. Given the fact that the Torah is the model of the Universe, what is the principle that we want to extract from the Torah an apply to our understanding of the Universe? Look at 2nd paragraph on page 1. The essential principle that God established in the creation of the Universe is the following principle: First darkness, and then light. And he means this in every way possible. He is not fudging here or being academic: “It would seem that, etc…” He is saying this is what it is in all the history of the world. There is no light that is revealed except true darkness. Derekh Mashal: Matan Torah. First act of creation, light after darkness, actually light OUT of darkness. So Matan Torah- before we got that, we had to be enslaved in Egypt. Before the Jews got the Torah, they had to be enslaved in Egypt. Without that experience, they would not have accepted it or understood what they were accepting. And he goes on and gives other examples. If we were doing logic we would say, we cannot say that just because something precedes something else it is the cause of something else, but for R’ Tzadok, what the Torah chooses to record in a certain order is telling you something about the way things occur. There is some causal relationship. Take a look in the middle- and this is now the next step. In every thing of darkness, light comes out- and what is the nature of that light? It is absolutely the opposite of the darkness whether in terms of the history of a generation, whether in an individual’s history. In other words, if you have a failure, difficulty, it’s for a reason. And that reason is that you will emerge from that (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they sayit’s more than that). Without the difficulty, you would not have been able to appreciate and get to the light. If you don’t have a kasha, you won’t have a teiretz. There are parts of the Jewish world to the right of us who think that you die from a question. There is something from a Rebbe I respect on other grounds but not on this: Why is the Chacham and the Rasha, why do they have the same pasuk? How can you compare the Chacham to the Rasha? So the Satmar Rebbe ZT”L, supposedly said, “Because the Chacham started asking questions and in that respect he is like the Rasha!” That is not a Jewish way of looking at things.
33 My favorite Rav story: someone once challenged him in shiur and said how do you know that? And he said: A clear and logical mind. For those of you into Gemara, a clear sevarah. Wherever you fail will be preparation for the insight that comes- the failure is going to point the way to the success. It means if you failed at something, you tried it. That means your shoresh neshama, the roots of your soul, go in that direction. You do not understand divrei Torah until you stumble over them first. First you try it, it doesn’t work, and then you find the right way. That is why, psychologically it makes a lot of sense as well. Failure points the way to success. And if you understand that, that gives you a very different way of looking at what happens to you in your own lives. Those of you whose hair is like mine probably know this already, those who are younger may not have gotten there yet. Now we are going to work out what that really means. So look at page 2. Here it says: A person is not ever in one place; he is continually moving. And if you want to judge him, he has ups and downs either in terms of spirituality, intellect, moral compass. We are talking about individuals now- “ha’adam”- the person. He has ups and downs. And this he says is the moon. The metaphor is the moon. The Jews are compared to the moon. The moon waxes and wanes and the Jews wax and wane. Do you remember that wonderful editorial Mark Twain wrote about the Jews? We are still around because we wax and wane. R’ Tzadok makes a distinction between Jews and non-Jews; I personally think it applies to non-Jews, too. The only time failure does not yield success is when you let it get you down. That is on the individual level. Now let’s see how that works on a national level. In order to raise all the matters of this world to the highest level. Now, this is written in the 19th century when Graetz’s history had been written. This was the heyday of what Cala Baron in the 30s called the lachrymose theory of Jewish history. That Jewish history is just a succession of persecution after persecution. R’ Tzadok rejects all that. He is also rejecting something else which I wish the Satmar Rebbe had understood. And that is that we are not only here to be punished- there is a reason we are scattered all around the world. The answer is right there on the front page of the Times every single day. Look at us in exile and look at the Arabs who were not in exile, and the difference is amazing. Quarter of Nobel prize winners are Jews, etc. So let’s take a look as to what he says. Little joke here. Heaven is where: The police are British. The chefs are Italian. The mechanics are German. The lawyers are French. All organized by Swiss.
Hell is where: The police are Germans, chefs British, mechanics are French, the lawyers are Swiss and it’s all organized by the Italians. If you ever look at Zimmel’s book on “Ashkenazim and Sephardim” – one of the differences between them which of course now is important is that Ashkenazim tend to be machmerim and Sephardim tend not to be. In other words, chumra is only lately in those communities. And this occurred to me- who knows if our sojourn in Germany led us in that direction? That doesn’t mean it’s bad, by the way. What we’re saying is that we got all kinds of things from all kinds of people, because each person has its national character. (CHANA: There’s an ugly quote from Mein Kampf that says that…except it says the Jews give nothing back…) The perfection that a human being has, if he has a perfection- in that regard there is also a lack. Because in the days of the sin of Adam everything is mixed up, good and evil, this against the other. I wish I had time; we don’t have the time- but want to show you that zeh neged zeh is not just a phrase. What it means is that there are two worlds- world of Emanation in terms of Kabbala and evil. Jewish knowledge and non-Jewish knowledge and they go stage by stage. Watershed in Jewish intellectual history occurs by conquest of Alexander the Great of the Persian empire, not the Churban Bayit, and the victory of Hellenism over what came before and the end of prophecy. The beginning of Greek philosophy and the end of prophecy- and THAT is zeh l’umat zeh. When prophecy ends, Hellenistic logic begins. And he says then, and this works individually and collectively: Everything and everyone that has a powerful failing, that is the kli, the means, the vessels for tremendous perfection if you merit it. There is an intellectual reason/ historical reason for him to say that. Because his Rebbe, the Mei Shiloach, talks about (and this is one of the controversial points of his teachings)- he believes there is no such thing (and R’ Tzadok at least explicitly does not agree with his Rebbe on this) that there is no such thing as free will. It’s not your deeds that you determine; it’s just how much you fight against your Yetzer. So Zimri ben Salu was actually a Tzadik, but it was written that he would do that Averah and he would be killed- what he is supposed to do is resist with all his might, and if it happens anyway, then there is a reason in God’s plan for why that should happen. So R’ Tzadok is saying if you merit it, you will not be tripped up this way. Therefore, he says, you should remember, that at the time of your failure, you should know that at that very time, that is a preparation for the good thing that is going to happen. And at that very moment, if you realize it and do the right thing, you can rise to the next level or a greater level beyond that next level. K’fi Godel HaChet- according to the heinousness of the sin.
35 The depth and failure shows you the success that will be- so the greater the sin, the greater the success that will happen. In the greatness of the sin, that is the opportunity for becoming greater. For reasons that are obvious, most rabbis don’t emphasize this- and if you have heard it, tell me, because I want to become a member of that shul. Most rabbis won’t use this in their drasha. There’s a Gemara he brings from Sukkah 52- Whoever is greater than his fellow human being, his Yetzer Hara is greater than his fellow. (CHANA: This is by the story by Abaye where he saw the man and woman walk along…) Perhaps it is because the imaginative faculty is greater…David HaMelekh is right on target. If you’re greater, then your capacity for imagining evil is greater. So if you turn your imagination the right way, your capacity for good is also greater. Top of page 3: And now we get to the root of all the souls of the Israelites, of the Jews, are included in the Mishna. (I think that means Torah She’Baal Peh as a whole.) He says included in that is all the Divrei Torah that will be absorbed through Galus, by the exiles among the nations. Divrei Torah are absorbed through us by Galut. We get our Divrei Torah also from them. Kabbala: They wouldn’t exist except there has to be something good and we are there to get the good. And this is what it means, the ingathering of the Exiles. Kabbalistically speaking, all the holy sparks gathered throughout the Universe, are now being gathered by us in Galut. Through the sins, many holy sparks are absorbed. Through our being in Galut and our contact with nations/ the non-Jews, many sparks are absorbed, because sparks got there too, and our job is to reabsorb them into Kedusha. I will give them a new spirit among them and will remove the stone heart from their flesh and give them a flesh heart. The 70 nations: Each one has a particular strength, they have a particular national characteristic. Whether it is orderliness, emotion, whatever it is- the complete human being is not just one characteristic but all of them together. To go too much in one direction is not right; we have to be rounded. And our sages said the only reason the Jews went into Galut was to increase, add converts to the Jewish people. Meaning is that every non-Jew has his own particular strength/ talent that he can’t change at all and so if he converts from that nation he brings that power to the Jewish people. Each one gives us that talent. There’s one other point here: He says the reason we can do this is not – is because we are not hard-hearted. In other words, Galut softens us up to absorb Kedusha wherever it comes from. We are not coming in a hardhearted way where we won’t accept it. If we are impervious to outside influences, that is not the same. That does not mean we should become Conservative or Reform Jews tomorrow!
36 In other words, if you understand what our purpose is, then you understand how we are supposed to view history, our own individual lives, the events that happen (good and bad) and to do this in a very existentialist way. Find our purpose, work toward that- our existence precedes our essence. You can do the Rav too, for that matter! But we’re doing R’ Tzadok. What R’ Tzadok does is provides us with a way of looking at the world, our own lives, human history and intellectual history in particular. Jews have reputation of being smartest people around- so this is the way of understanding the world, universe and our own individual histories. Now you understand also the role of Galut, Shibud Mitzrayim, Yetziat Mitzrayim and why Pesach is such an important holiday. Even people wh don’t keep other things keep Pesach. Lest you think that this is some kind of esoteric doctrine- this little copy I am holding up, first copy of R’ Tzadok’s ever published- this is a copy I have from my wife’s grandfather. He was not a Rosh Yeshiva, etc, but this, he had. Now you understand why.